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structural design

A woven-in pattern as opposed to one printed on a fabric.


An openwork design for lace or embroidery with the pattern scattered.


Originally, the term referred to a fabric found throughout the South Pacific and is made from the inner bark of certain trees. The bark is beaten into a paper-like fabric, then dyed or otherwise colored. Tapa cloth is one of the best known types of true barkcloth. Barkcloth is a term that also refers to a fabric, often cotton or rayon, with a somewhat crepe-like feel that is designed to resemble true barkcloth. This fabric is used extensively for draperies, slipcovers, and other home furnishings. See crepe and tapa cloth


Batik describes a special technique of resist dyeing which was first used in Indonesia. Before dyeing the fabric is pile-spread with wax. The waxed areas remain in the original color while the rest of the fabric adopts the dyeing color. To get the typical veined effect to the design the wax is cracked. Today, it is largely produced in an industrial way. Connected to: resist dyeing


Fabric with a woven-in dobby design. The pattern has a center dot and resembles the eye of a bird. It is used in cotton diapers, pique, and wool sharkskin. See pique.

block printing

A hand-printing process in which a design is carved on a block of wood or linoleum. Dye is placed on the surface and the block is placed on the fabric, thereby transferring the dye. Every color requires a different block, making this type of printing tedious and expensive. It is now almost entirely limited to the craft field. See printing.


Brocade is used as a drapery or upholstery fabric. It has a Jacquard weave with an allover interwoven design, normally figures or flowers. The name is derived from the French word meaning to ornament. The brocade pattern is accentuated with varying surfaces or colors and often has gold, silver, or other metallic threads running through it. Although true brocades still are produced, nowadays the term is also used for knits with a similar luxurious look. A brocade rug, in carpeting, is one in which different yarns of the same color create a subtle pattern.

brocaded satin

A satin fabric with raised designs in Jacquard weave.


A smooth-surfaced, plain weave cloth. Today, the term is almost always applied to fabric with bright, sharply contrasting, usually small-print designs. Calico is usually woven, although calico prints may appear on knits. Calico is a traditionally popular fabric for patchwork. It is also used for dresses, sportswear, and aprons.


One of the softest fabrics made, it is named for the AngloIndian term shalee, meaning soft. lt is a fine, light-weight, plain-weave fabric, usually made of wool, cotton, or man-made fibers. Challis was traditionally printed with vivid floral patterns on dark grounds or with paisley designs, but now is produced in darker tones of allover prints and solid colors, in the finest quality fabrics. lt is normally used for neckties, dresses, blouses, scarves, bed jackets, and infants sacques.

district check

The name given to several quite different woven check patterns that originated in Scotland. The term applies to designs ranging from glen checks to shepherd checks

gingham check

Regular check in which the design is woven so that, in a red and white checked gingham, for example, there are squares of solid red, squares of solid white, and squares of white warp and red filling, as well as squares with red warp and white filling. Gingham checks are also printed on woven and knitted fabrics, and are knitted into some fabrics by means of a Jacquard attachment.


A design in which one check is woven or printed over another of a different size. Glen checks are overchecks.


Chevron is a design that forms horizontal rows of joined Vs. Another name for chevron is flame stitch.


Any closely woven, plain-weave, glazed cotton and blends of polyestercotton fabric, often printed in bright designs, which are most often floral. It is used for draperies, slipcovers, bedspreads, upholstery, and now mens and boys shirts, and ladies and girls dresses.


A plain-weave, carded cotton fabric, usually printed with large designs. Cretonne is unglazed, and is used for draperies, slipcovers, and other home furnishings.


A method of coloring fabrics made from more than one kind of fiber, for example, a wool and cotton blend. Each fiber in a fabric designed for cross-dyeing takes a specific dye in a different color or in variations of a color. A fabric that is crossdyed is more than one color. Cross-dyeing is often used to create heather effects (soft, misty colorings), but strongly patterned fabrics can also be achieved, depending on the fibers used in the fabric.

discharge printing

A method of obtaining light designs on a very dark ground. The fabric is piece dyed first, then the color is discharged or bleached in spots, leaving white designs in a pattern. An additional step is often the roller printing of these design areas with patterns and colors. See dyeing.


A dobby fabric is one with small geometric figures incorporated into the weave, and is made with a dobby attachment on the loom. Less elaborate than a Jacquard attachment, which also produces geometric designs, the dobby is used to produce geometric designs such as those found in pique fabrics.

duplex printing

A method of printing the same design on both sides of the fabric to give the design additional definition and clarity of color. Also called register printing.


A lightweight, soft, plain- or twill-weave fabric made of silk, mercerized cotton, rayon, acetate, or thin worsted wool. Foulard has a high luster on the face and dull on the reverse side. It is often printed, and the patterns range from simple polka dots to small, allover elaborate designs on light or dark grounds. It is also made in plain and solid colors. Foulard has a characteristic hand that can be described as light, firm, and supple. It is used for spring and summer dresses, scarves, robes, and neckties, and frequently sold as surah.

haute couture

The business of designing, making, and selling high fashion, custom-made clothing.

heat transfer

A form of printing in which elaborate colors and designs are printed onto a special type of paper. The paper is placed over the fabric and the designs and colors are transferred to the fabric through the application of heat.


A pattern knitted into a fabric. The term usually refers to a design on only one part of the fabric.


A term used to describe fabrics with a woven or knitted pattern, whether or not they are made with a Jacquard attachment on the loom. The Jacquard attachment for weaving and knitting machines makes possible the manufacture of complicated, repeated geometrical designs in knits and wovens. See dobby.

jacquard patterns

Fancy patterns knitted in articles made by a special attachment on the knitting machine. Jacquard weave A construction characterized by very intricate woven-in designs. A special Jacquard loom makes these designs by controlling each warp yarn.

jacquard knit

A knit with a design knit into the fabric in a regular allover pattern. Most Jacquard patterns are closely knitted, but it is possible to make some pattern knits with a Jacquard machine.


A decorated openwork fabric created by looping, interlacing, braiding, or twisting threads. [t is made (either on a background fabric of net or without a background fabric) with a design formed by a net work of threads made by hand or on special lace machines, with bobbins, needles, or hooks. The pattern in lace is usually open and most often floral in design. Machine-made lace is most commonly seen today and many patterns formerly only made by hand, are imitated by machine. hace is the traditional bridal fabric, but it is also used for other nonformal clothing such as sports clothes. The following entries are some of the major types of lace.

ajour lace

An open lace design with the pattern scattered on the ground.

crocheted lace

Lace made with a single yarn. A crochet hook is used to form loops joined to other loops to form the design.

needlepoint lace

Lace made with a sewing or embroidery needle to form buttonhole stitches as the basis of the design.

Valenciennes lace

A flat babbin lace worked with one hand forming both the background and the design for the lace.


A type of lace made by the bobbin lace method. Also, an openwork lace or embroidery containing holes designed for the insertion of decorative ribbon. See bobbin lace.

Brussels lace

Brussels lace may be either a bobbin lace or a needlepointlace.It is usually worked on a machine-made ground and sometimes the designs are appliqued onto the ground. Because of the importance of Brussels, Belgium, in the history of lace-making (many patterns developed there), several different laces are called Brussels lace. See bobbin lace and needlepoint lace.


One of the most popular of bridal laces often used for the trimming on bridal veils. It is made by the bobbin method and has designs outlined by thick cords. See bobbin lace.


An ornamental embroidery effect woven into a cloth by a series of needles. The design, often in zigzag effect, is not clipped.

pillow cover

A fabric cover which is placed over the bed pillow before the pillowcase. Pillow covers are designed to give more protection to pillows than is provided by pillowcases alone. See pillowcase.

loom-figured fabrics

Fabrics that have the design or pattern woven or knitted in as opposed to those which, for instance, have patterns printed on finished cloth.

luster rugs

Rugs that are chemically washed to give them sheen. They may be Wilton, Axminster machine-made rugs with oriental designs or velvet construction, and are frequently referred to as sheen-type rugs.

Macclesfield silk

Hand-woven silk or rayon fabric with small overall Jacquard patterns. Macclesfield, England, is the town of origin. Today, the name applies to small, yarn dyed, dobby designs used in mens neckties. See Spitalfields.


1) Called Indian Madras. A fine, hand-loomed cotton imported from Madras, India. The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that it is deceptive to apply this term to a fabric that does not meet this description. In addition, the FTC definition requires that any dyes.used on this fabric must be vegetable dyes that will bleed (the col:ors run into each other). The fact that the FTC felt called upon to make such a definition is some indication of the popularity of Madras and imitation Madras fabrics in recent years. The authentic Madras and its imitations usually have checked or plaid designs


A technical term that refers to a yarn made of different colored fibers. The word is used descriptively for fabrics to indicate randomly or uniformly colored slubs that appear on the surface giving added textural and design interest to the fabric.


A firmly woven reversible fabric with raised geometric designs. Marseilles was originally made of cotton, but is now usually made from man-made fibers or blends.


A soft double or compound fabric with a quilted appearance. One of the fabrics that, like cloque, has a blistered or quilted look to the design. Officially, the word matelasse implies the use of two different yarns that, when finished, react differently to the finishing resulting in a puckered effect in the fabric. In practice, the term matelasse is usually applied to luxury fabrics for evening wear, while a word such as cloque is used for a similar fabric made from cotton. The heavier type is used in draperies and upholstery, whereas crepe matelasse is popular in dresses, semiformal and formal suits and wraps, and trimmings.


A finishing process by engraved rollers that produces a waved or watered effect on a textile fabric. Design is permanent when heat-set.


Initials of a name combined in a single design and used on clothing, ornaments, stationery, and the like.


A design or color used alone or repeated on a fabric.


A fabric construction, usually thinner and less resilient than a comforter, most often used as a bed covering for added warmth. It consists of a layer of printed cotton muslin fabric, known as the quitt top, and backing fabric, also made of printed or solid cotton muslin fabric, with a layer of cotton, wool, or synthetic batting between. All three layers are sewn together with fine quilting (running) stitches that usually create a design of its own. Quilted bed coverings filled with down feathers are called eiderdowns or comforters. A patchwork quitt has a patchwork quitt top. See quilting, patchwark, and batting.


Stitching through two or more layers of fabric to form a design or pattern. The most common quilting design today is a diamand pattern, but quilting stitches (usually a short running stitch) may also be dane in abstract, pictorial, geometric, floral, or random patterns. Quilting stitches often are used to outline patchwork or applique designs on a quitt. See applique, quitt, and patchwork.


A knit made on a raschel machine, a warp knitting machine that can use bulky yarns to form designs imitating crochet or net.

reembroidered lace

Lace with designs outlined in embroidery stitching. See embroidery.

register printing

A method of printing the same design on both sides of the fabric to give it additional definition and clarity of color. Also called duplex printing.

roller printing

Roller printing may be the most important method of printing today. The design is etched onto a toller through which the fabric is passed. For each color in the design a different toller is used. High speed can be obtained in toller printing.

hand-knotted rug

Hand-knotted rugs, including Oriental and Persian rugs, are among the most expensive made. Intricate designs are possible. The higher the number of knots to the inch, the finer the rug.


A piece of fabric twelve to sixteen feet long used by Hindu women to drape and cover the body. The fabric is often silk with silver or gold threads forming a border design.

satin brocade

A satin with a raised woven-n design. It resembles a fine embroidered pattern.

screen printing

In screen printing, a sheer fabric, such as silk or nylon gauze, is stretched over a wood or metal frame to form a screen. The entire screen, except for the design area to be printed, is coated with a substance that closes the pores of the fabric screen. The dye is poured onto the screen and forced through the uncoated design areas onto the fabric below. A different screen must be used for each cotor in the print.

sculptured rug

A floor covering in which the pile is cut in different lengths to form a Jacquard design made with different heights.

shadow printing

A printing method in which only the warp yarns are printed with a design before the fabric is woven. ""fhe resulting fabric has a wavy, shadowy effect. It is also called warp printing.


Silk fabric woven from silk made by wild, uncultivated silkworms. Tussah is naturally tan in color, cannot be bleached, and has a rougher texture than cultivated silk. Wild silkworms eat leaves other than mulberry leaves which cultivated silkworms eat exclusively. The difference in diet accounts for the different fiber and fabric characteristics. Tussah is also used to describe fabrics designed to imitate this kind of silk. See wild silk.

stencil printing

A type of resist printing where portions of the design are covered with metal or wood so the covered parts do not take the dye. See printing and resist printing.

awning stripes

Stripes seen on awnings designed to protect windows from sun. Awning stripes are sometirnes used on fabric for apparel and are usttally brightly colored and at least 1'' wide. Awning stripe patterns may also have a narrow stripe about 1/4'' wide on each side of the main stripe.

structured apparel

Clothing designs that give a garment shape even when not being worn. For example, a jacket that has padding, lining, binding, and a fitted waist.

sublistatic printing

A technique in which the design, printed on rolls of paper, is pressed against the fabric. When heat is applied, the design is transferred to the fabric.

sweatshirt fabric

A knitted fabric with a smooth face and a fleecy, pile back. Sweatshirts were originally designed for exercise during which perspiration was encouraged, but they are also worn for warmth in cold weather and are available in several styles. They were made of cotton for its absorbency, but acrylic versions are also available.

moire taffeta

The most common moire fabric. A moire is a watermark design produced by passing fabric through heated rollers engraved with the designs.


A Jaquard woven fabric in cotton, wool, or man-made fibers. Traditionally, a decorative wall hanging woven to depict a scene. The filling threads are changed in color to fit the design. On the back, shaded stripes identify this fabric. It is used extensively for wall hangings, table covers, draperies, and upholstery. Some rugs are made in tapestry weaves. The word is also used for needlepoint, but this use is generally considered incorrect. Machine-made fabrics, also called tapestry, have regular designs on the surface and a slightly looped pile. They are used for such things as coats and handbags.


A pattern made of intersecting stripes. Each tartan pattern is associated with a certain specific family called a clan. Plaid, a term used for tartan, is actually the name of a shawl made of tartan fabric. The use of plaid has become so general that tartan is almost always limited to authentic clan designs. Some of the most common tartans follow, but there are many others.


A broad term for extremely strong woven fabrics which are used as a covering for pillows, mattresses, and box springs, home-furnishings, and for work clothes and sports clothes. lt is a heavy, tightly woven carded cotton fabric usually in a pattern of alternately woven stripes in the warp, Jacquard or dobby designs, or printed patterns. lt is usually twill but may be sateen weave. When ticking is used in clothing, striped ticking with narrow woven stripes is usually most popular. Red and white, black and white, and navy and white are the most popular ticking color combinations.

tie dyeing

A form of resist dyeing. Items to be dyed are tied or knotted so that the folds of the fabric form barriers to the dye to create patterns or designs on the fabric. See dyeing and resist dyeing.


The French word for cloth. Toile is also a woven fabric that has been printed, usually in one color only, with a scenic design. This is occasionally called turle de Jouy. lt is most commonly found in home furnishings fabrics. Toile is also used in the field of expensive designer clothing where the word is used to describe a fabric pattern for a garment.

Toile de Jouy

Cotton fabric printed in pictorial designs. The original toile was printed by Oberkampf in 1759 at Jouy, France. lt is used for draperies and bedspreads. See toile.

tracing cloth

A nonwoven, transparent fabric used for tracing designs and especially patterns. Since tracing cloth is fabric, it can be marked and altered more easily than paper used for the same purpose.


A form of quilting in which fabric is quilted only in certain areas. The design to be quilted, a monogram for example, is first worked through two layers of fabric. Then, the back ing fabric is slit so that the yuilted areas can be padded with yarn, cord, or a filling such as fiberfill. See fiberfill.


A term used to describe narrow trimmings with multicolored designs woven into them. Various types of braid, such as peasant braid, are popular during certain fashion periods.

chainette fringe

A yarn fringe designed to resemble chain. lt is used as a trimming or window shades.


A decorative fastening for clothing consisting of twisted cord wound into a design that looks like three petals joined to a similar design on the opposite edge of an opening with a loop of the cord.


An edging often with small scallops of fine cord along its edges. Gimp was originally designed to hide upholstery tacks on chairs and sofas, but now is used for other decorative purposes.

tussah silk

Silk fabric woven from silk made by wild, uncultivated silkworms. Tussah is strong, but coarse and uneven. lt is naturally tau in color, cannot be bleached, and has a rougher texture than cultivated silk. lt is used in shantung and pongee. Wild silkworms eat leaves other than mulberry leaves eaten exclusively by silkworms. The difference in diet accounts for the different fiber and fabric characteristics. Tussah is also used to describe fabrics designed to imitate this kind of silk. See wild silk.


An exaggerated chevron or tweed-like structural design with accentuated nubs.

unbalanced plaid

An unbalanced plaid is one in which the arrangement of the stripes is different on the crosswise and lengthwise grain of the fabric. In constructing a garment of this type special care must be taken in matching the plaid design.

vafenciennes lace

A flat bobbin lace worked with one thread forming both the background and the design for lace.

warp printing

A printing method in which only the warp yarns are printed with a design before the fabric is woven. A hazy, grayed effect is produced. The resulting fabric has a wavy, shadowy effect. lt is also called shadow printing.

washable fabric

A fabric that can be washed. The method of washing (by hand or machine) may not be designated.


A fabric in any fiber mixture or blend that has a white woven-in design on a white background. Usually, it is a fabric with a white dobby or Jacquard design on a white ground, common in madras, broadcloth, or nylon. See madras.


A jacket made of a closely woven fabric: or a fabric treated with a finish designed to prevent the passage of air. The fabric used in windbreakers offen has a degree of water repellency because of its tight construction.


A fitted or shaped piece of fabric fullness principally designed to control fullness from gathers, pleats, or darts. Sometimes a yoke is used strictly as a decorative design element. Yokes are gener ally found in the shoulder area of shirts, blouses, and dresses, but are also used in the waist and hip areas of skirts and slacks.